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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: OPTIMIZING IRRIGATION MANAGEMENT FOR HUMID CLIMATES

Location: Cropping Systems and Water Quality Research

Title: The Arkansas Irrigation Scheduler

Authors
item Vories, Earl
item Tacker, Phil - UNIVERSITY OF ARKANSAS
item Hall, Steve - UNIVERSITY OF ARKANSAS

Submitted to: Proceedings of the World Environmental and Water Resources Congress Conference
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: January 27, 2009
Publication Date: May 18, 2009
Citation: Vories, E.D., Tacker, P., Hall, S. 2009. The Arkansas irrigation scheduler. Proceedings of World Enviromental and Water Resources Congress. p. 3998-4007.

Interpretive Summary: In the U.S. Mid-South, annual rainfall is generally sufficient for limited crop production, but periods of drought during the growing season make irrigation essential for optimum yields. Factors such as cloudy weather, rainfall, and temperature swings caused by the movement of weather fronts all complicate irrigation scheduling in the region. The Arkansas Irrigation Scheduler has been in use for over twenty years in Arkansas and surrounding states, with the current version released in 2008. The current version retains most of the objectives of the earlier versions, while allowing users to view the soil water status of more of their fields at one time and making the program easier to learn and applicable to more areas. Using the program to properly schedule irrigation can save energy and therefore money by reducing unnecessary pumping, and help to alleviate water shortages being experienced in many agricultural areas. Thus, while the immediate beneficiaries of this research are Mid-South producers, the benefits of conserving water accrue to municipalities, industries, and the general public as well.

Technical Abstract: In the U.S. Mid-South, annual rainfall is generally sufficient for limited crop production, but periods of drought during the growing season make irrigation essential for optimum yields. However, factors such as cloudy weather, rainfall, and temperature swings caused by the movement of weather fronts all complicate irrigation scheduling. The Arkansas Irrigation Scheduler has been in use for over twenty years in Arkansas and surrounding states, with the current version released in 2008. The current version retains most of the objectives of the earlier versions, with the exception of being field-, rather than system-based, allowing users to view the soil water status of more of their fields at one time and group the fields as they feel most appropriate. Other changes made the program easier to learn, allowed the user to take advantage of more extensive weather data if it is available, and made the program applicable to more areas than before. Crop coefficient functions developed in the region are needed, but are not currently available. Future versions of the program may be limited to the internet, but no internet version is currently available for public use. Using the program to properly schedule irrigation can save energy and therefore money by reducing unnecessary pumping, and help to alleviate water shortages being experienced in many agricultural areas.

Last Modified: 4/23/2014
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